Himalayan SnowcockTetraogallus himalayensis

juvenile male, tame bird used in field experiments
James D. Bland/VIREO
adult
Lynx Edicions/VIREO
Himalayan Snowcock

Description

22-29" (55–74 cm). Between 1963 and 1979, some 2,025 Himalayan Snowcocks - a large Asian species of montane habitats - we released in mountainous areas of Nevada (of the 6 subspecies, the dark nominate form was introduced). A few hundred birds persist there, especially in the Ruby Dome/Thomas Peak area; intrepid birders hoping to see this large species travel into this remote, roadless country on foot, by horseback, or even by helicopter.

Voice

Displaying male gives loud, fluting whistle; also various chuckling clucks.

Listen

shrill whistles and songs

Habitat

High alpine meadows surrounded by steep mountain peaks, cliffs, and steep slopes with large expanses of rocky outcrops; often near lower boundaries of perpetual snow fields.

Range

Native to mountain ranges of northern and eastern Afghanistan, northern Pakistan and India (southeast to western Nepal), and from Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and e. Kazakhstan through western and west-central China. Successfully introduced during the early 1970's into the Ruby Mtns. of northeast Nevada.

Discussion

Nevada has advocated exotic game bird introductions for many years. Himalayan Snowcock was established as a naturally breeding species in the state by the early 1980s, and has become a trophy game bird for sportsmen.

Nesting

Ground nests located along steep slopes with rock outcrops, often under rock or shrub overhangs, grass thickets, or in shallow depressions. Eggs (8-12) pale yellowish to rich reddish buff; small brownish blotches, especially at smaller end.

Similar Species

adult male

Greater Sage-Grouse

Male, 26-30" (66-76 cm); female, 22-23" (56-58 cm). Both sexes mottled gray-brown above with black belly.

Vireo

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